The Making of Thanks Giving

I poured the broth through the metal strainer and into the glass bowl on the counter. I then poured it from the bowl—the one with a spout, thankfully—into the mason jars waiting with open mouths. Steam tickled my nose and I smiled. Something about neat rows of stored broth and soup makes my heart happy. I stuck the jars in the freezer and turned back to the mess of meat and bones left in the pressure cooker.

I’ve been home for two weeks now, and I’m starting to settle into the rhythms that are going to help me heal. Minerals, supplements, sleep, broth . . . I’m doing everything in my power to give my body the tools it needs to rebuild. My nutritionist tells me that it takes five to seven times as many nutrients to heal the body as it does to maintain one that is whole. Slowing down long enough to get what I need is hard work, but that is why I am here and not in Nashville. And that is why I’ve spent the past two Thursdays making broth.

Drew Holcomb crooned in my left ear, my right earbud hanging free so I could hear if anyone needed me. I’d broken down the chicken before cooking her for broth the first time. Two rounds in the pressure cooker later, she’d fallen apart. Whatever meat was left went into the bowl. Bit by bit, I tossed the rest of her carcass into a grocery bag. Bones crumbled between my fingers, the nutrients they’d once carried now in the broth and ready to nourish my body.

Using as much of the bird as was salvageable seemed like the very least I could do. Turns out, the cost of my healing isn’t cheap. One chicken paid dearly for it—something that is easier and easier to forget as I move farther away from my food. What I see on my plate most nights doesn’t seem like chicken. It’s just a chunk of meat. So I bow my head and give thanks, but it’s little more than a mumbled routine.

Making broth, though, is a different kind of thanksgiving altogether. It’s an acknowledgement that it is God who gives life. I came across a string of vertebrae still perfectly connected by a nerve that ran through them. It wasn’t so easy to forget that the bones I was tossing and the broth I was saving came from a bird who had once been very much alive. And, at the cost of her life, I was finding mine.

That is a gift, and one that I would do well to acknowledge on a more regular basis. It is a gift that I honor when I pick through the bones to save the meat. It’s one that I remember as I sit on the front porch swing sipping my breakfast broth, thankful for something to calm my unsettled stomach.

I can’t conjure up healing and life on my own. It is, indeed, a gift God gives—one he is faithful to give every time. Even when death comes first, there is resurrection.

Thanks be to God.